Karla Garcia (left) and Julia Suriano (right) receiving their scholarships at the 2016 CWA Spring Brunch.
"I can say my experience as a woman studying architecture in the US has been incredible. Everywhere I have gone, I have had the chance to meet wonderful people. People who have not only encouraged me, but helped me get where I am right now.
Along the way, I have had the support of my mom, as well as many professors, women and men. Thankfully, I started studying architecture at a time when women were no longer seen as incapable of performing the same tasks men would.
Throughout the years, I have been challenged the same way as my fellow classmates, and maybe more because when I came to the US I did not speak fluent English, which made things a little harder, but never impossible.
I would say I have a point of comparison in terms of opportunities, and I am well aware there are more opportunities in the US for women to succeed than for instance Guatemala, where I am from. Studying in the US, I have been able to achieve many things...
I have always believed is it not always about people who put us down, but ourselves. If we do not believe or trust in ourselves we would never know what we are capable of.
I really appreciate the opportunity CWA has given me, not only the scholarship but the chance of being part of such an important organization for women in our community."
"I spent much of my time as a child by my father’s side. Whether it was holding a hammer, ripping out drywall, or pouring concrete, I was eager to help. These moments from my childhood piqued my interest in construction and architecture. During high school I was able to take my first Architectural CAD class. I was the only girl in my class, it pushed me to excel and solidified my passion for design.
I began my education at the College of DuPage, where I spent two years submersed in studio and graduated as the top-ranking architecture student of my class. The College of DuPage prepared me to transfer to the Illinois Institute of Technology on the Presidential Scholarship.
I just finished my fourth year at Illinois Tech. Throughout the past two semesters we designed in teams and I had the opportunity to work with real clients. This year has consisted of the most valuable learning experiences of my education thus far. Learning to design in groups allowed me to discover my strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately grow as a designer. As I finish up my undergraduate education, I hope to continue to progress as a student and begin my journey to licensure."